Guest Post By Shelby on Living A Healthy Lifestyle During School

Shelby will be graduating from Midwestern University with her Masters in Biomedical Sciences this fall and will be attending Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for PA school in January. Her biggest passions revolve around CrossFit, coffee, being a dog mom, and giving back. Feel free to follow her journey through PA school and beyond. Instagram: student_shelby

How can you live a healthy lifestyle during graduate school?

Hi there! I hope to help give tips and tricks to live a healthy lifestyle with the busy needs of graduate and/or Physician Assistant (PA) school. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to contact me.

1. Always stay hydrated. I own two 40 oz hydroflasks. I love them because my water stays cold for hours. I have one for the gym and the other for class. Easy ways to stay hydrated are:
  • Each hour have a sip or two (during breaks between classes and after an hour of studying)
  • When you wake up in the morning, have a glass of water. It’s a great way to kick start the day with hydration (your body went at least 6 hours without water, its thirsty!)
  • Some people add fruit to their water (cucumbers, strawberries, lemons)
  • Aim to drink at least half your body weight in fluid oz (if you weigh 150 lbs drink 75 oz of water each day). I absolutely love coffee so that will definitely be a staple in my life in addition to water.
2. Take care of your mental health
  • Mental health is important towards success in life. What helps me the most is exercise. When I work out I feel more confident and less anxious. That really allows me to tackle the struggles I am having.
  • Find time to spend with family and friends. It is impossible to study all the time. I dedicate one ½ day block each week to something fun. Usually its Friday night getting food at the food trucks and taking my dog with me but it can be Sunday morning spent going to church and grabbing brunch with family/friends. Having a support system is vital towards success. I try to call my family or just send them a text once a week or every other.
  •  If you like to blog, journal or mediate I encourage that! I like to do romwod (a form of stretching) and sometimes make videos then delete them when I feel I need to vent.
  • Before things become too overwhelming, ask for help! If you ask for help before things become too much, then you are less likely to miss out on important things.
3. Get in those steps
  • I own a dog. It’s a perfect way to stay active although he is ~11 so he can’t go too far. My apartment loop is ~1/4 a mile. I walk him at least 3 times a day around it. So if you have a dog make sure you both are getting your steps in or find a friend with a dog.
  •  I live on the third floor so I take the stairs each time I go in and out of my apartment. Those add up over the day if you can take the stairs. My programs office is on the third floor on campus and so many people take the elevator. I challenge you to take the stairs every time.
  • I also live within walking and biking distance from campus. If I walk it usually takes 12 minutes or if I bike about 5 minutes. I love it because it’s convenient and saves money on gas! At my school, parking can be a nightmare so I don’t have to waste time looking for a parking spot.
  • When going anywhere park in the back of the parking lot. Those extra steps are easy to get in and I bet there will be less people parked near you.
4. Catch those zzz’s
  •  I know this might be hard to hear but all night studying is not going to get you that A when compared to a good night’s sleep. Sleep is so important to help your brain and body recover from the day.
  • To avoid all night studying, make sure to be organized. Eliminate distractions while studying. The best way to study is to do it like snacking: do a little over time and you won’t get hungry or get overwhelmed with the material. If you binge eat or study you feel overwhelmed/stuffed and that’s not a good feeling.
5. Exercise
  • Find a friend in your program to go take classes with or to just go to the gym together. My best friend and I initially just would carpool to the gym together and do our own thing. It was great having someone to hold you accountable. Overtime we decided to join Crossfit together and I love it! It’s a really big community fitness so you always have a friend to be with.
  • You do not have to be a Crossfitter to have benefits. If you like yoga, running, tennis, or whatever, make sure to get those sweat sessions in at least 3x a week. I promise you, you will not regret putting your health as a priority. I always felt like I do better on exams and can study more effectively when I work out.
6. Eat a balanced diet
  • Meal Prep is essential for a busy week. I like to go shopping on Saturdays and make meals on Sundays. I have found several staples online that are easy to make. I bought meal prep containers on amazon. I just make 4 servings per meal and then if you make 3 different recipes, your lunch and dinner are covered for 6 days. I switch up meals each week so I don’t get too bored of them.
  • These are links to some of my favorite recipes, I augment them some but they are tasty! Sriracha Glazed Meatballs, Honey Sesame Chicken Lunch Bowls, and Breakfast meal prep bowls
  • Eat breakfast! Even if you have to grab a protein bar eat something. Your brain needs fuel to sit through classes all morning, be running around clinic or in the laboratory. Overnight oats are an option or making egg mixtures in muffin tins
  •  If you meal prep or even just pack your meal ahead of time, you avoid spending money and avoid getting hungry.
7. Avoid/limit challenges
  • Try not to drink alcohol often. Having a hangover while studying is not enjoyable nor is sleeping in and missing an exam.
  • Limit the amount of television and social media you partake in. It can be easy to sit down and binge watch Netflix but acing that exam will feel more satisfying.

Balance should consist of having spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wellness. This will be different for you and for me, but we all need to remember you are important, capable, and smart. If you forget, write it on your mirror because you are worthy!

Leave a Reply